Trusting God’s Arms

Jennifer’s Story:

The steps creaked beneath my feet. My heels dangled off the edge of the platform. I crossed my arms over my chest. Inhale. Exhale. I leaned backwards. And I dropped. I watched the world spin as I fell six feet into the arms of my friends. My life has sometimes felt like the inhale and exhale before that trust fall.

I first learned to avoid trust falls in high school. At our K–12 school, my ten classmates and I spent every class together from preschool until graduation. In that closeness, I came to realize that lies peppered nearly every conversation. Students lied to teachers. Students lied in prayer requests. Students uncovered each other’s lies but then turned around and told more themselves.

I heard the back-and-forth stories and I refused to fall prey to them. I couldn’t allow my classmates to think of me as bait. So I thickened my skin, adjusted my ear drums and trained my brain to catch untruths. As I listened to my friends, I assumed they told me fibs. I brought the gavel down on those guilty-until-proven-innocent witnesses. But in my attempt to protect myself from their traps, I didn’t realize my thickened skin prevented me from depending on anyone, even God.

The risk of another trust fall soon emerged in the form of a boy: Logan. In my sophomore year of college, I went on a date with my dream guy. In the stages of sweaty hand-holding and side hugs, our dates blossomed into a serious relationship, and my heart warmed. Yet my mind whispered, “Trust no one.” Would he let me down? Would he hurt me? Even worse, would he break up with me? Maybe go for a girl with blonder hair, a prettier face or a slimmer figure? Could I trust him?

So I held back. I couldn’t reveal my true self if it might result in heartbreak. If a breakup loomed in the near future, I might as well go ahead and do it myself to save him the trouble and myself the embarrassment.

I couldn’t hide my thoughts any longer. About two months into dating, we planned to go ice skating. We arrived at the rink, but I couldn’t go inside. As we sat in his Jeep Liberty in the parking lot, I sobbed. I told Logan I feared he would dump me. He held me and listened. He told me he would not leave me and would remain faithful. And today, nearly five years later, Logan has remained by my side — now as my husband.

While my husband has remained faithful, he has also said words to me he regrets. And I know hurtful moments will happen again. But on that day in the parking lot, God began to reveal to me how I had grown to depend only on myself. In attempting to decipher the reliability of others, I tried to take the job of God — not only the greatest judge, but also my greatest protector. I forgot I have a God whom I can always trust, who has proven again and again he will never fail me. My friends might lie. My husband might forget a promise. But my God never will.

In the Bible, I have found comfort in the words of perhaps the greatest king and songwriter, David, who suffered much heartache and betrayal: “Some trust in chariots and others in horses, but we depend on the Lord our God. They will fall down, but we will stand firm.” (Psalm 20:7–8). I don’t have to search for the sturdiest chariots or the grandest horses. I don’t have to harden myself to those who may let me down. I can trust others, because my ultimate trust lies with God. Inhale. Exhale. When I fall, I know whose arms will catch me.

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